tv Tavis Smiley WHUT August 13, 2009 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
tavis: good evening from los angeles. as the backlash of health care reform intensifies, and the deal on capital killed will be brokered by a moderate to conservative democrats known as the blue dogs. a conversation with one of the leaders of the blue dog coalition, baron hill. also corneille stops by. in 1994, he escaped his home in rwanda, following the massacre that claimed the lives of his total family. he has moved onto a career in france. he is -- has moved onto his first u.s. release "the birth of
cornelius." we are glad that you join us for the debate over health-care reform and a singer corneille. >> there are some neat things that walmart is looking forward to doing, like helping people live better. we are looking forward to building strong relationships. with your help, the best is yet to come. >> nationwide insurance proudly supports tavis smiley. looking to improve financial literacy and the economic empowerment that comes with it. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. [captioning made possible by kcet public television] captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org--
tavis: and baron hill of indiana is a co-chair of a group of moderately conservative democrats known as the blue dog coalition. they will play a key role in any health care reform package that comes out of congress. he is also a member of the indiana basketball hall of fame, conducted back in 2000. a class that included some guy named larry bird. it is nice to have you on the program, sir. >> it is good to be here. tavis: i am glad to have you on as a hoosier myself. at me start by asking whether you have during the recess back in indiana conducted any town hall meetings. i asked that against a backdrop of everyone else having town hall meetings. every day we seem to be leading the news with americans yelling and screaming and pointing and
name-calling members of congress about this health care debate. i saw this on the "the new york times" with arlen specter and a finger in his face. are you conducting town hall meetings? are you getting thrashed? >> i am having meetings with the chamber of commerce. i am talking to doctors, nurses, people that would be affected by this legislation. i have not done town hall meetings. i'd hope we will get to the point where we can have one. i do not want to set up a venue for these groups that just want to come in and blow up the meeting. if we can create that environment in smaller groups, that is what we're looking for. >> are you hearing from your citizens that they want to have a town hall meeting? >> i am hearing from those who are shouting the loudest and demanding the town hall meeting. i do not want to create a venue
for those folks to come in and blocked the meeting. i want to have a serious -- blow out -- up the meeting. i want to have a serious discussion. tavis: i wonder if you believe that the contentious nature of the way these town hall meetings are taking place is not just senator specter and other members of congress. president obama hanssen fingers in his face at a town hall meeting. -- had some thinkers in his face at a town hall meeting. what does this say about health care in america? >> i am not a psychologist. i am puzzled by the behavior of some of these folks. everyone deserves respect including them, if it would just calm down. i do not know what about this gares everybody. no matter what kind of illness you have, you are going to be
able to get insurance. this is a bill that is going to include insurance for 47 million americans. if you are working a job now that you do not like, you will be able to take it with you if you move onto another job. there are a lot of good features that the american people want to hear about. tavis: for those who say this is a quintessential example of socialism, what do you say? >> they are full of baloney. if they want socialism, they can go on medicare. this is designed to keep what you have. you get to keep that insurance. if you are somebody that does not have health insurance and you want it, you will be able to get it. you will be able to move from job to job. you will not be denied coverage because you have diabetes or some other chronic disease. tavis: it sounds like you support this bill with a year
earlier words or you suggest to the president directly that he was moving too fast on this issue. >> i did advise the president that he was moving too fast. i have a lot of confidence in president obama. i know he is doing the right thing and trying to keep a campaign promise. we need to create an atmosphere for people to look at this bill so people can see what is in debt. i have been met with all of this extreme opposition. we still have three or four weeks left before we go back to congress with it. hopefully some of these unruly people will get a chance to see what is in the bill. tavis: it could get worse. tell me where the blue dogs are concerned, the reed that most of us have taken on this is that any deal would have to be
brokered in part by the blue dogs so that as a group of conservative democrats, what is the group's take on this issue, never mind your own? >> the blue dogs are a fiscally conservative group of people. there are seven on the committee. i want to make it unequivocal that they want a health care bill. they do not want to block it. for some of our liberal friends, it is important for them to understand that. we want to make sure that this bill is paid for, we do not go into debt. to make sure that we do not do that. we also want reforms. the cost of health care is going up every year. we want to stop that. the only way we can do that is to reforms. we need to change the way that medicine is administered and paid for. the only way to do that is through some strong reforms.
it probably need some more. if it does not have reforms, then the blue dog will not be able to vote for the bill. i believe we will get this bill in a shape where everybody can vote for it and we will have health care. we have been talking about this for 60 years. i hope that we can get it done. tavis: you insist that it will happen in the fall? >> it is supposed to happen in the fall. if we need more time to get it done and make it to more palatable to the people, then that is fine. i do not want to give the opposition too long to voice this. people are starting to believe the rhetoric that you will be forced to die. not having town hall meetings makes my job more difficult. there are a group of people that are bent on getting this thing
been no matter what. they are using a lot of negative tactics to do it. tavis: how is it gogog to get paid for it? >> one of the ways is with these reforms. in some estimates that could save up to $2 trillion. i do not really think we could save $2 trillion. where the rubber meets the road is how we are going to pay for it. that is still to be determined. there is a tax on people who make more than $350,000 a year. tavis: part of the reason we are in this debate is that we have been debating for 50 years. we have been a country for much longer than that. the right for the access to quality health care is not a basic fundamental human right in this country. in other countries, the right to health care is a basic,
fundamental human right and it is written into the law. we know that is not the case in this country. should it be? >> it is not written into the law in this bill. the effect of the bill would that everyone would have access to health insurance. everyone would have access to health care by the nature of the bill. if you have diabetes or even if you have cancer, you will be able to get insurance at a cost you can afford. tavis: the debate about the public auction, it is that bad? >> no. is there to be voted upon by the house in september and october. tavis: what about those who say that your president, if he does not get this through, there are those who say that he is toast if he cannot get health care reform passed. your thoughts on that notion?
>> i think we can get health care. i want to help the president get a healthcare bill that he can sign into law. the president will not be coast if he does not get it this year. i am hoping that we can get it this year. it is a smart political move if we start to act on it this year. i hope that we can get the president to be successful in his efforts. tavis: nice to have you on the program. all of the best to you. >> thank you, tavis. come back to indiana. tavis: i do when ever i can. we also have corneille and a performance. stay with us. corneille is a talented singer songwriter whose u.s. debut is called "the birth of cornelius." in 1994 he escaped from his home
elsewhere around the world. you are known elsewhere around the world trade when you say u.s. debut, that means what? -- around the world. when you say u.s. debut, that means what? >> it is a really important chapter in my musical journey. when i go back and try to reconnect with mine used and when i was young and innocent and i eve about the business. i just wanted to sing and -- and naive about the business. i just wanted to sing and write songs. i knew english first. i connected with the english right away. it is almost like the debut -- and i do not want to put down my
french career. i am so thankful for it. the u.s. debut for me means that finally doing something that really matches the images and ideas and the dreams that i have. tavis: give me some of the artists that you are referencing. >> obviously michael jackson, r.i. t -- r.i.p. marvin gaye, stevie wonder. my dad got me into jazz. i was growing up in rwanda and none of my friends were listening to that. my dad was such a western music lover. he got me into classic as well. tavis: you said that your dad was the only one in the village listening to it. >> i was fortunate enough to be
brought up in a family where we were part of what you would call the intellectual elite. both of my parents studied in germany. they were in tune with what happened in the west. my dad was an engineer. i think that he secretly wanted to be a musician himself. tavis: don't we all? >> i believe that. i think we all have an artist waiting to come out. my dad was the first one -- this is far from being the common rules in rwanda. my dad encouraged me in the music career choice. he encouraged me to take my first studio sessions. he always had a fascination. he was really fascinated by
western culture as a whole and music in this particular case. i grew up listening to a lot of african-american artists and watching a lot of eddie murphy and denzel washington and all of that. tavis: i think that is probably true for everybody. what black folks have given the world is so immeasurable that you cannot talk about it. you cannot talk about western culture without appreciating the negro's that made it possible. >> the black community came up with this award show. every year they asked me, what does this mean to you? what are we celebrating? we are celebrating black culture. we are not celebrating the idea of being black or black best. it does not really mean much. -- or blackness.
it does not really mean much. we are celebrating a culture that is so omnipresent that it is all around the world. in africa, we know what is going on in the u.s. because we are so into the african american culture. tavis: you referenced your father in the past tense. you have done that because you are so connected and affected by the rwandan genocide. i know you have told the story at 1000 times. give me the short version of what happened to your parents. >> i was one of the people that until the last minute did not think that the rwanda genocide was going to take such crazy proportions. my family and i stayed after april 6.
that was when the killing release started happening. my parents stayed in the capital. my father thought that it was ever going to be that bad. this is not the kind of country that we live in. obviously, we were wrong. 1 million people were dead after we realize that. people came up to my house and they started shooting at anyone who was in the house. my family had people helping out in the household. i cannot even say that i was baird. i think they left me for dead. -- was spared. i think they left me for dead. it was not that strategic or well thought out. they thought i was dead. i had to leave the house.
i stayed in the capital for the whole duration of the genocide. i managed to walk out of the capital. those are the images that you all saw. the exodus towards congo. i managed to reach congo and get in contact with a german family who was friends with my family in the summer of 1994. tavis: your parents were both murdered. how old were you? >> i was 17. tavis: i know you have been asked that question so many times. so much of your music is autobiographical. you do not run away from this. it is in your music. >> it is in the music. it is the third record that i have had. two previous records in france -- in french.
honesty with yourself is not such an easy thing to achieve. i try. that is what i strive for. i tried to be as honest with myself as possible on my records. this album is a result of an evolution. mainly a psychological one. 10 years after the genocide, i can talk for myself. i can talk for a whole generation of people who were my age at the time. they were forced to stay in the country as orphans. an entire generation of young people who had to disconnect from their emotional selves and had to stay for a long time. i think with this album i am coming out of that. i am saying things that i did not think i was allowed to say.
tavis: i could talk to you for hours. i promised this performance to the audience. before i let you do your thing, what do you think your dad would make of you being on u.s. television? >> my dad would be ecstatic. he would definitely be into the show. i am sure he would be into tavis smiley. you did the tavis " -- "tavis smiley." tavis: you will think about the fact that his father developed a love in him for our culture and music. here he is doing his own thing in the u.s. his name is corneille. the project is "the birth of cornelius."
up next is a special performance from corneille. from his critically acclaimed new cd, corneille performing "liberation." enjoy. goodnight from l.a. and keep the faith. ♪ >> working my days and drinking my nights away i have a $1 million view overlooking my neighbors that you not faze me, no something really good is on the tivo today
if that is all i need it is a sad, sad allusion of happy it is a sad, sad illusion of happy. living free, living free living free, oh, yeah i am drinking my days and crying my nights away i have about 1 million contacts in my iphone and no unread messages today that do not faze me, no because i have a thing with a .com girl
happy and you are forced to call it living free it is a sad, sad illusion of happy we are fools for calling it a living free these are the days of the liberation ♪ [applause] >> for more information on today's show, and visit tavis smiley at pbs.org. tavis: join me next time for an exclusive conversation with the twitter co-founder on the growing influence of his brand. >> there are so many things that walmart is looking forward to doing, like helping people live better. we are looking forward to
helping build stronger communities and relationships. with your help, the best is yet to come. >> nationwide insurance probably supports tavis smiley. tavis and nationwide insurance, working to improve financial literacy and the economic empowerment that comes with it. >> nationwide is on your side. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. [captioning made possible by kcet public television]